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Why Can’t I Get Toothache Relief from My Dentist?

Posted by AllSmiles

Woman frowning with her fingers on her cheek, portraying the need for toothache reliefWhy can’t I get toothache relief from my dentist? In August, my dentist did a root canal on my lower right second molar. The tooth felt slightly better after the root canal but has not healed. Last week, I had a flareup. I assumed the root canal failed.

My dentist says the tooth looks fine on the X-ray, and the problem is likely neurological. He said I could get my lower left teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants, and I would still feel like I had a toothache. Do I need to see a neurologist or another dentist to get toothache relief? – Thanks. Ryleigh from GA



We are sorry to hear about your discomfort and lack of resolution. It is common to feel a toothache when the pain is from another source.

Why Can’t You Get Toothache Relief from Your Dentist?

The reason you cannot get toothache relief may be due to the source of your discomfort. Sometimes, pain from one tooth refers to another, a neurological problem may exist, or a gum or sinus infection may be the culprit.

What Are Potential Toothache Sources?

The following concerns can make it challenging to find the source of your toothache:

  • Referred pain. At times, an upper tooth infection may cause a lower tooth to feel like it is the source of the pain. Or, an adjacent tooth may have a cavity or infection. Although referred pain does not occur from one side of the mouth to another, it can come from opposite or adjacent teeth.
  • Although it is rare, nerve dysfunction can feel like a toothache. Your dentist may be correct that your symptoms are neurological, making it challenging to get toothache relief. Trigeminal neuralgia and migraine are two conditions that can cause tooth pain.
  • Sinus or gum infection. A sinus infection can cause upper teeth to feel like they are aching. The sensation from upper teeth can refer to lower teeth. Treating the sinus infection can give you toothache relief. Also, a gum infection or food trapped between teeth and gums can cause tooth pain. Sometimes, receding gums can cause tooth pain. Gum disease treatment or professional dental cleaning can relieve your symptoms.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching. If you grind or clench your teeth, the pressure can eventually cause a toothache. A custom nightguard can relieve the stress of grinding your teeth and decrease your symptoms.

If your dentist cannot identify the cause of your discomfort after reviewing your X-ray, refer an endodontist (root canal specialist) or see a skilled dentist for a second opinion. An endodontist’s advanced training can help them determine if your tooth is the source of your discomfort. If the specialist agrees with your dentist, you may need a neurologist. Your dental and healthcare providers can collaborate to give you toothache relief.


Dr. Thaddeus Michalski, a Rocky Hill, Connecticut dentist, sponsors this post. Read why his patients think he is one of the best dentists near the Rocky Hill/Hartford area.